PfsstCats Munchkin Origin
In introducing this breed to the world, the Brazilian magazine O' Globo published a photo of two of my Munchkin kittens for an article on this sweet little new breed of cat. I was very pleased with the results when I was presented with a complimentary copy from their country.
Throughout history, there have been sightings of other cats whose distinguishing characteristic was their short legs. In the 1930's, cats with short legs lived in England. In 1944, four generations were actually documented in the Veterinary Record by Dr. H.E. Williams-Jones. But in these cats, only the front limbs were affected, while the hind limbs appeared to be of normal size; therefore, the term "foreleg micromelia" was given to this generation of cats, often called "Kanagroo Cats" by the layperson of this time period. These cats were reported as "healthy" and "could move very quickly." These cats seem to have had a type of dwarfism like the Munchkin cats of today, with one very important difference. The Munchkin cat of today has both "foreleg and hindleg micromelia," if we were to implore this earlier term--meaning, that both the front limbs and back limbs of the cat are of the same short length, making a more desirable little cat.
Unfortunately, there is no other data on this 4-generation bloodline, which seems to have perished during World War II. Yet another documented report was in 1956 when Vonmax Egouthiel of Hamburg, Germany, described his sighting of a cat in Stalingrad, Soviet Union three years prior. In his report, he named his finding the "Stalingrad Kangaroo Cat," mainly due to the way he saw the cat sit upright like a prairie dog. But again, since this reporting, no other data has been found.
Today, the short-legged cats that have been given the Munchkin name are primarily the descendants from "Blackberry," the first Munchkin found in America in Louisiana in 1983. Since her finding, there have been more cases of "spontaneous" Munchkins -- meaning, those spawned by Domestic parents -- found in different parts of the world and the USA. In fact, a female was found here in Arkansas. ~ : )
"Pfsstcats Binky Boy" & his kids "LaLa" & "NuNu"
Such findings are truly wonderful and may perhaps help researchers in their quest to determine how the dwarfism gene manifests itself in these modern-day short-legged cats. From the current data available, however, these foundlings are deemed to be no more or less Munchkins than those whose parents, one or both, were of similar stature. In some instances, they are less because they are not regarded as good representations of the breed. A Munchkin who has been carefully bred for quality and type coming from a long lineage of Munchkins in a responsible breeding program that is working for the promotion and betterment of the breed will more likely yield a much nicer Munchkin. Yet these foundlings may be a place to begin since there have been some that possess better type than others, but this is still just a starting position. Notwithstanding this degree of caliber, these discoveries are interesting occurrences in their own right of which we will hopefully come to understand more about in the near future, as we learn more about the "Munchkin gene."